tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC July 8, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PDT
>> this is "the chris matthews show" -- >> and not -- ask not what your country can do for you [ >> tear down this wall. [captioning made possible by nbc universal] >> today, a special edition. we gather our regulars to look back at the big issues in this show's 11 great years. chris: hi, i'm chris matthews and this is a very special show. i have 17 of our best and brightest all-time favorite regulars for these last three years -- shows. we're going to talk about how things have changed in the course of our 1 years on the air. we debuted in the fall of time-out when this country still felt that unity after 9/11.
howard fineman, take us back to the mood of the country september 2002. > wounded, proud, united, as you said. still following symbols and signs and acts of unitedness in the country and signs of americanness. whether it was baseball games you were watching. what i did on the first anniversary of 9/11 was go out to mount vernon where george washington lived and appreciated the beauty and peace of the place. i think everybody in america looked for signs and symbols of togetherness. chris: andrea, i remember being at yankee stadium back then with rudy giuliani and everybody back then just rooting for the yankees. you wad -- had to do that that year. >> it was an amazing feeling, a feeling of we were in this together but at the same time there were warning signs that many people overlooked and that was the lack of questioning
authority, not looking deeply enough about accepting the verities of the government as part of its rush to war. >> i think we all felt vulnerable still and i think there was this sense that perm nated -- permeated then and still to a degree now that lives with us over that decade of vulnerability and a sense of what can we do to protect ourselves and our children and our families and i don't think that's changed that much over the last decades. chris: but the unity, i remember riding on the j train in downtown manhattan and somebody was playing the sax, which is the great mournful instrument and i just thought there's something really quiet about new york. it's a noisy town. maybe contemplation, maybe respect. that was also the mood more
recently at boston after the marathon bombing. >> right. the thing is that you have to look at the 15 years before, which were an unprecedented riod of peace, prosperity, invulnerability. this country for the last decade reencountered reality as the rest of the world knows it. >> i think the word we're all reaching for is fear. for a long time that was not part of the american calculus and after 9/11 and with the tumult in the economy that became a dominant force in the mood in america. there was a lot of fear. >> elizabeth? >> here's what i remember about september 2002. that was the month after a very long month the president, president bush spent in crawford, texas, when there were a lot of rumblings about moving to war in iraq. we came back to washington in
september of 2002 and there was a resolution in congress that authorized the war in iraq that occurred just six months later. i remember a sense of fear certainly but also a white house moving that fear towards war in iraq and the mood in washington was -- unlike a lot of septembers when you come back to school sort of, the mood was frenzied, on edge, very tense and it built and built and built over the next six months until he invasion of march 2003. chris: bob woodward, you wrote about the war in a number of books. george w. bush had his finest moment at the site of 9/11 when from the the bullhorn firefighter and said we're going to get back for this. and then his decision to go to war in iraq. >> yes, what truly happened and i think because the theme during this period, are we well led? and that was always pulsing in
the background aboutush and his high water marc was probably the bombing and invasion of afghanistan because that seemed like it was working. there was a lot of feeling, oh, my god, the war in afghanistan was over and of course, we went even close to that end. chris: let me go to andrew sullivan in london. andrew, welcome to our group. >> thank you. i think looking back 9/11 was the most successful terrorist attack in the history of the world,. it terrorized and traumatized so many of us out of our senses. when you look at what happened in boston and you see they shot a whole city down because an unarmed teenager was in a boat in the backyard, i realize how profound that psychological trama was. it still affects the way we think or don't think, the way we
react with our gut feelings. and we had a government that did things like institute illegal torture immediately upon this event happening. it was a grieve yowls wound in ur psyche and still hasn't healed. chris: katty kay, britain has been through a lot more, a more continuous period of terrorism from the i.r.a. and did everybody go to general quarters in england? >> no, i grew up living with the threat of trim. we never had trash -- terrorism. we never had trash cans in the subways, that kind of thing. but it did produce in america this extraordinary feeling of self-doubt as well as the fear and unity. to me that was punctuate bid two headlines. the first was of september 12 of zpwun the headline was "well all americans" and the world was behind americans and a year
later there was a news weaning cover that said "why do they hate us?" for the first time americans are saying the world doesn't love us. chris: what changed? >> it was the rush to war in iraq. it was as simple as that. all around the world you had massive peace merges from people saying we should not be invading iraq and i think the world looked to america and said why are you going into war in iraq? and the questions so long afterwards have still not been really answered. chris: david, how much do you think of that was european muscle memory? >> in the cold war therefore assive merges in places. people have always have hostile and complicated feelings about americans. loving and hating it. we've always had to deal with that as we've become a global
super power. we had a fear but also pretty much a sense of confidence. the cold war was a major influence, i think on how we reacted. it was wound down very successfully. we had a sense our institutions basically worked, that iraq and afghanistan were going to work. and since iraq and afghanistan, leading into the financial crisis and a bunch of other stuff, institutions have failed us. chris: the military still has a high number. explain? >> because it's about service and people admire that. >> i covered the war in 2003, the american invasion and i'll never forget the sense of confidence that was so america. that was the period of shock and awe and in this 10 years we learn it would lifts of american military power, that as strong as we are, there are so many things we can't do. iraq was a tough slog all the
way. afghanistan has been the same. as a journalist i learned in these 10 years to question more. i mean, our job is to ask questions. i look back at 2003, 2002, i wish i'd asked more questions about what the government was asserting. >> in that fall, that was when the intelligence n.i.e., the intelligence assessment about weapons of mass destruction was in the safe room in the senate and only a handful of senators even bothered to read the classified version. the declassified version that was put out was all very assertive. all the caveats were in the jet version and the senate wrote it without reading. i think in the decade or so sense we've all learned not to trust intelligence. chris: it was divided on the
democratic side largely on the issue of iraq. senator clinton at the time said i'm for the war, basically. senator obama said i'm opposed to it. beam go to the general quarters and said it was going to be a left-right fight rather than a fight over institutions. did we miss the big thing, intelligence? >> people retreated not only to their corners but to further corners than ever before. david talked about the lack of trust now in institutions. that's a huge story over the course of the last 10 years. the other big domestic story about the iraq war is polarization. there is no more dominant theme than the increased partisanship, the bitterness, the hate in many cases that sprouted on both sides. there was a brief one-year period after 9/11 where polization vanished for a moment
and then with iraq came right back and gotten worse and ors. chris: so from vietnam to watergate, a bit of a pause and right back. kathleen, should we be arguing more about insurance institutions and who we're trusting? >> sort of bouncing off of what andrew said, the words that come to mind for me are temporary insanity. all of that fear we talk about, that con vealed the -- congealled -- we were so thrown off balance. we lost our equilibrium as a country and each of us did scurry to our comfort zone, that would be our more politically entrenched positions. i think we were all willing to do whatever nanook to make sure that never happened again. now we can sit and say gosh, we should have asked for questions but at the time all we wanted to do was take action. chris: cynthia first then mike. >> well, there was a different
attitude, i think, outside washington and new york. the terror had happened right here and i remember how fearful friends of mine were who lived in washington and new york. but that sense of terror and panic didn't necessarily pervade the rest of the country. but this is where our insurance institutional leaders sat and -- institutional leaders sat and i think they helped pass that sense of panic to the rest of the country, but i also think that domestically there were some greater risks and anxieties out there that had been masked that between 911 and the financial panic just became much more clear. one of those was the economic one. while all of us are more or less secure professionals, there are many people out there with college degrees who were already
living with a deep sense of economic anxiety that nobody had really articulated well and then the financial crisis came along and exposed all that. chris: sure did. we have to halt it there but we'll be right back. we have to halt it there but we'll be right back. >> "the chris matthews show" is vo: i've always thought the best part about this country is that we get to create our future. you get to take ownership of the choices you make. the person you become. i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved and staying engaged. they're not sitting by as their life unfolds. and they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is
chris: welcome back. t's pick it up where we left off. mike duffy? >> something that abides in the decade and moving through today is that a desire to the public to go back to being normal. that's what made the unity short. can we go back to normal now? chris: what's the most recent normal? >> i think the great recession of the last five years has
reinforced the feeling, i want to go back to the way it was before. >> didn't dick cheney talk about the new normal? >> exactly but i don't think we really believe it yet as individuals. starting with 9/11 there was a breach moment of unity and then we wanted to heal so the divisions that started before that event are back with us. chris: kelly, we didn't talk about one institution that gets no good press anymore. congress. i was thinking has the congress reflected the american mentality on these things? >> i think one of the things that congress wrestles with because they are part of the government is this public mistrust of the government's ability to do the right thing, to get things done. whether it is the assessment of intelligence, whether it is going back to the era of katrina, how the government could serve people in congress. the sense of security.
is it the right level or not? those who are elected around sure themselves because of all the polarization. there's the political fight of the moment and then the more genuine sense of wanting to get it right, to do a good job. chris: it seems to me that you've been waiting for this moment. i want to you size up that 11-year span. take the big issues of intelligence, belief in institutions, security and our natural marked rebelliousness against government. >> there were two wars against iraq. the kuwait war was when the first george bush announced that the vietnam syndrome is over. he was right and that wasn't an entirely good thing. first in kuwait and then in afghanistan. we rolled over those enemies relatively easily and i think
that gave us overconfidence about not only the practicality of invading iraq but also the justness of it, the rationale behind it, and this affects our interpretation of intelligence. you can still fight intelligence based on the attitudes in your head as you're looking at and it that led us into overreacting, if you will, around the patriot act that leads us now to question so many institutions and the information that we get, wondering who can you trust? >> the words security and intelligence mean something completely different outside of washington. [laughter] and security for people i think was dominated by a few things that they saw in their neighborhoods in their communities. foreclosure signs. strip malls that were closed. katrina, watching that on television and wondering if the creek rises in my community will
chris: welcome back. this is a shorter discussion. quick answers to this big question in our 11 years it seems that our politics have grown more divisive. the right has moved farther right and the left has dug in its heels. where's the country at large? >> well, the politics stinks. is that short enough for you? chris: anybody thinks it doesn't stink? >> anybody here think it's not
worse than anything we've ever covered? the good news is the polization is primarily an elite phenomenon. it's the institutions we work in, the congress, the way the politicians acts. the country is still basically the country, a bell curve country. chris: i get a sense of from the hill you have boehner as the speaker worried about his lue innocents and -- lieutenants and they're all with their ears to the ground about this big block of tea party people. and the tea party people seem to be worried about the next primary. so isn't the -- it the voters? >> no, when i got here there ere people like jack kemp with entrepreneurs with their own individual agendas. now they're scared. there's a lack of initiative.
>> people i think are legitimately turned off on what's happening in washington, including the media. chris: your thoughts? >> i'm in the media and not just an old news media but the new media as well. ocial media, etc., has empowered ordinary people, dog gone it, to be able to have more of a say. it's made members of congress more independent on their traditional leadership because they can just go right to the web with an inflammatory sound bite or something and have money flowing immediately. >> there is a vast center of the population that is still a fairly moderate population. the trouble is the center is silent. chris: let's go to andrew in london. why did people love the picture of big chris christie of new
jersey, republican, walking with beaches with a democratic president on the every of the campaign? even the election? >> because it showed the potential of barack obama if the republicans had not decided to demonize him for the get-go. i don't agree with david, by the way. i think this polization comes from the bottom, not the top and it's fueled by an increasing alienation of people in the middle of the country who understandably feel left behind by these big economic changes and by social changes as well. a lot of the people that used to be balancing that in the middle have moved to the cities and the polization is increasing from the bottom up. we're just responding to it. chris: break the tie, john holman. >> i hate to disagree with andrew sullivan on something but i do think that the country is not where west virginia is.
there's discourse on the right -- there's no doubt the right has moved really far to the right in our official dialogue. i don't think that conservatives, actual people are as far right as their representsives and i think that's hi. i'm henry winkler. and i'm here to tell homeowners that are 62 and older about a great way to live a better retirement. it's called a reverse mortgage. [ male announcer ] call right now to receive your free dvd and booklet with no obligation. it answers questions like
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sofa... desk... you know what? why don't you go get some frozen yogurt. i got this. you're so sweet. you got this, right? i do got this. let us get everything off the shelf, and to your home. chris: that's all for today. this great group is back next week for more, as we celebrate our 11 years own the air. see you here next week. [captioning made possible .
>> hi everybody and welcome to "on the money," happy fourth of of july, the all important jobs report, what it means to the mark, the economy and your money, we will take you behind the numbers and tell you what it means. and a mid year checkup. what will the second part of the year bring? what is going happen with interest rates and tocks. red, white and blue, we will talk to big business and stir up colorful things for you. "on the money" starts right now. >> this is america's number one financial news program. on the money. now maria bartiromo. >> we will have all of that in a